New Orleans Pelicans’ rookie sensation Zion Williamson will get his first opportunity to go up against LeBron James on Tuesday night, as the Los Angeles Lakers host the Pelicans in a nationally televised game at Staples Center. Ahead of the highly anticipated showdown, Zion was asked to share his thoughts about LeBron, which included an opinion about the four-time MVP being somewhat under appreciated.
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Following New Orleans’ 115-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night, Zion had this to say about his first matchup against LeBron (H/T Yahoo Sports).
“I used to watch him all the time, especially when he was in Cleveland the first time, he was just an incredible player to watch, he always held his own.
“Sometimes I feel he doesn’t get the respect he deserves but it’s not for me to decide.”
Williamson entered his rookie season with the most hype of any player since LeBron was selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. 17 seasons later and James is still among the most elite superstars in the league, averaging 25.2 points to go along with a league-leading 10.7 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game.
Zion, meanwhile, has quickly proven that he is worthy of all the hype as well. In his first 12 games since returning from an injured knee, the 19-year old phenom is averaging 22.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. As a result, he has helped the Pelicans climb to 10th in the Western Conference with a record of 25-32, just 3.5 games back of the eighth seed Memphis Grizzlies.
Tuesday night’s matchup at Staples Center could serve as a preview for a first round matchup between the Pelicans and Lakers, but Zion says he’s simply looking at it as another must-win matchup as there are only 25 games left on the schedule.
“I’m not necessarily looking at it from that perspective,” Williamson told reporters on Sunday, according to Yahoo Sports.
“I’m looking at from the perspective as, you know we need every win, we’re trying to fight for that eight seed in the playoffs.”
Tuesday’s Pelicans vs Lakers game will air on TNT at 10:30pm ET.